Tyrone Smith concedes time is running out for Olympic swan song
Tyrone Smith is refusing to give up his dream of an Olympic swan song despite conceding time is running out to qualify for Tokyo 2000.
The Bermudian long jumper, who has represented the island at three Olympics — in 2008, 2012 and 2016 — is determined to once again step out on the world’s biggest sporting stage and compete at the rescheduled Games, scheduled to take place between July 23 and August 8.
However, with just 37 days until the Olympics begins, he admitted his aspirations of signing off on his athletics career in the most fitting of swan songs are becoming increasingly more doubtful.
“My biggest concern is that time is running out to qualify,” said Smith, who fell marginally short of the required 8.22 metres qualification mark in winning the Imperial Association Championships with a leap of 8.03 in San Diego this month. “If I had until July to qualify, then I would no concerns because I’m making good progress; however, I only have until June 29 to hit that mark and I’m running out of opportunities to compete.
“I’m searching desperately for any events I can find in the coming weeks, but it is not ideal. Realistically, I have two more chances to hit that qualification mark before the deadline.
“One will be on Sunday in a small sanctioned event in Colorado Springs and after that it will be more than likely one last shot at the final day of the US Olympic Trials in Houston on June 26.
“In the perfect world, I’ll jump 8.22m on Sunday, get qualification done and dusted, and then have the chance to rest up before the Olympics.”
Despite the deadline looming, Smith is refusing to become deterred about the mounting pressure. Having twice jumped 8.30 in San Diego, albeit with marginal fouls, and holding a personal best of 8.34, he remains optimistic.
“I had a tough start to the season with some bad luck and I’ll admit it made me question whether or not I was capable enough any more,” Smith added. “However, in San Diego I cleared eight metres and even jumped 8.30 with a very marginal foul. That gave me renewed confidence.
“I know I have the capability to jump the required distance if I focus fully on my execution. All it takes is one jump in the right conditions and that will be good enough.
“I know the circumstances of time running out is a challenge but I have to deal with it. It’s one good jump and if I do get the chance to compete in two more events, then it is 12 chances — that is the way I’m looking at it.”
While he may have only limited jumps to book his place in Tokyo, Smith is adamant he will hold nothing back in his remaining attempts as he refuses to be consumed be the threat of enduring failed jumps.
“Despite the pressure of knowing these could be my final events, mentally I feel fine,” Smith said. “It’s such small margins in this sport and I know I can’t think about the possibility of fouling those attempts going into the events.
“I’ve always said you have to be on the ragged edge in this sport and it always has to be all or nothing in every jump attempt.
“I’m at that stage where I have to throw caution to the wind and not care about fouling. In this sport you train to be as close to that line in every attempt and that is exactly what I’ll be doing.
“You have to go for it and have faith in everything you do. Hopefully, everything falls into place I can achieve that one jump.”